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Like millions of pet owners, Fiona MacMillan was anxious to do the very best for her cat. 'When I got my first kitten, Jaggers, I asked the vet for some advice on feeding, and when she directed me to a well known brand of dried food, I was happy to take her professional advice,' she says.
'My vet said she gave it to her own cats and had never had any problems. I was delighted. It never smelled, I could tip some in Jaggers' bowl before I went out to work in the morning and leave it out all day without any fear that it would go off. And he loved it.'
Today, Fiona, 59, a former university librarian, bitterly regrets her decision to feed Jaggers on the convenience food rose gold cartier love bracelet. For when he was just seven, Jaggers was diagnosed with kidney disease. The same vet prescribed some more dried food, especially designed for cats with urinary problems.
Yet, despite Fiona religiously following her vet's advice, Jaggers collapsed three months later. And by the time Fiona got him to the animal hospital for treatment, it was too late. Her beloved cat was so unwell he had to be put to sleep.
'I was devastated, but at the time I thought there was nothing I could have done to prevent Jaggers' kidney disease,' she says. But then she decided to do some research.
'Was it genetics? Do a lot of cats suffer from it? I just wanted to know,' she recalls.
'And then I came across a website created by Lisa Pierson, a pet nutritionist, that completely shocked me. It explained that processed dried food the exact kind I'd been feeding Jaggers for years is linked to urinary and kidney problems.
'I was horrified. This had never even been raised as a possibility by my vet. But after I'd read about this, I spoke to another vet, who agreed with Lisa Pierson. tinned and packet) foods as well.
And part of the problem, as a Mail investigation can reveal, is that much of the veterinary industry is inextricably linked to the pet food manufacturers.
Research into pet food is carried out by the pet food companies but, more surprisingly, the training of vets at some universities is also funded by pet food manufacturers.
Crucially, lectures on nutrition at a number of vet schools, and for veterinary nurses at individual practices, are also often paid for and even taught by these huge corporations, giving them the ideal platform to promote their products cartier love bracelet 17.
One could argue that given this information, it's hardly in vets' interests to promote a more natural diet for pets.
That suspicion has certainly occurred to Catherine O'Driscoll, 52, who like Fiona MacMillan saw a pet die. In her case, it was all three of her golden retrievers, two from cancer and the third from a disease that paralysed his hind legs all at a relatively young age.
'I'm a dog trainer and have had pets for years. I know how to care for them,' says Catherine, from Kinross, Perthshire. 'But none of my three dogs lived past the age of eight, and I began to think I was the world's worse owner.
'I had two other dogs, and was determined to see them live longer. And it was after I read an article in a magazine by an Australian vet, which explained that feeding animals processed food could be bad for their health, that I switched away from commercial processed food.
'Afterwards, I saw a huge difference in their vitality. They both lived to 17, and I now believe that changing their diets saved their lives.
'A decade ago, I took the advice of my vet that feeding tinned and dried food was best for my dogs. I had no reason to question the professionals and many dog owners don't now.'
Catherine and Fiona are not alone in thinking they were misled. In internet chatrooms dedicated to pets, increasing numbers of people have been sharing concerns about processed pet food.
They believe that, just as junk food is responsible for myriad health problems and obesity in humans, our love of convenience pet food be it processed meat in cans or pouches, or dried biscuits is doing the same to pets.
A generation ago, people mostly fed their pets on butchers' scraps such as heart, liver and bones. Convenience pet foods were an expensive luxury. But now the pet food industry is valued at 2 billion and growing.
The pet food manufacturers appear to be promoting their brands with the help of veterinary practices, sponsoring food displays in surgeries which help to generate business for vets (via commission and the fact that some specialist food can only be bought at veterinary surgeries).
Hills Science Plan, a pet food brand owned by Colgate Palmolive, boasts that: 'More vets feed Hills than any other pet food cartier love bracelet for men.' Last year, Hills sponsored the British Veterinary Association's 2009 Congress (the biggest meeting on the veterinary calendar).
It also signed a partnership with the British Veterinary Dental Association to sponsor tooth care in animals.
Royal Canin Foods (owned by Mars/Masterfoods) boasts on its website of 'its partnerships with leading veterinary schools and universities'.
It runs Pet Health Counsellor Courses, training veterinary nurses in diet, and says stocking its food in veterinary practices can 'increase practice turnover'.
The message from the company is clear: sell our pet food, and your business will profit.
Many pet websites are in fact affiliated in some way with pet food corporations. The Pet Health Council, an independent website advising on pet welfare, is sponsored by the Petfood Manufacturers Association. The Pet Health website claims that processed food is best, warning: 'It would not be possible to feed your pet an adequate home prepared diet.'
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